Adoption requirements vary by state and by the adoption professional with whom you choose to work. The state of Florida has some regulations in place for prospective parents. While these may differ depending on the agency or attorney you select, below are basic state standards. Make sure you speak with your adoption professional to determine the requirements beyond what is listed here.
You do not have to be married to adopt in Florida.
As of 2010, LGBT couples can adopt in Florida.
You must be an adult to adopt. However, Florida does not have a specific minimum age requirement, or an age limit, to adopt.
Every member of the household older than 12 years of age will need a background check. Consideration of criminal records are on a case-by-case basis. Crimes that result in disqualification include violent crimes, domestic or child abuse, neglect or abandonment. The court and your home study professional examine the nature of your record to determine if you are eligible to adopt a child.
You must complete a home study to adopt a child in Florida unless you are adopting a stepchild or close relative. Home studies include a visit to your home and an interview. Some factors considered include the following.
While you don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer, you do need to be healthy enough to care for a child. Taken into consideration is your mental health as well.
You must show that you are financially stable. You don’t need to be a millionaire, but you need to show that you have sufficient funds to care for a new child.
This requirement is a more subjective factor that the social worker will determine. Basically, a home study provider wants to know that you are not currently dealing with any grief caused by infertility and that you have good communication with your spouse.
There are numerous official documents needed to adopt a child in Florida. Gathering these can be time-consuming, but it is a necessary part of the process. Some of the things you may need include:
- Birth certificates.
- Marriage and divorce records.
- A health report from a physician.
- A statement from your health insurance company confirming coverage of your adopted child upon placement.
- Release forms and reports from social service agencies and police departments.
- Passports and identification.
Additional Requirements Set by Adoption Professionals
As stated earlier, each agency or attorney has guidelines for who can and cannot adopt. For instance, some professionals have age restrictions, requiring adoptive parents to fall between certain ages. Others may refuse to work with same-sex couples. Furthermore, some professionals will not work with single prospective parents, choosing only to work with those who have been married for a certain number of years. When looking for an adoption agency or attorney in Florida, you should ask about their specific requirements.
Birth Parents Input
It’s also important to remember that birth parents often choose the adoptive family. So, while you might meet the state requirements and the adoption professional’s requirements, the final decision falls with the birth parents. Fortunately, birth parents have a wide range of preferences. So, if you are an older couple, for example, it might take you longer to find a birth mother, but there is likely someone out there looking for your precise qualities.
More About Florida Adoptions
For more information about Florida adoption requirements, contact licensed adoption attorney Tammi Driver at 727-800-6681.